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Zoo Miami

Digital Conservation Education

Mentor: Frank Ridgley & Steven Whitfield

One of the most impactful aspects of modern conservation is awareness of the issues concerning species and habitats and creating empathy to inspire action. This internship would concentrate on working with Zoo Miami staff and learning about our regional and global conservation efforts. With this acquired knowledge and the collection of associated digital media, this intern will create effective stories and messaging with the Conservation and Research department and marketing staff through our dedicated Zoo Miami Conservation and Research Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts and webpages. Through the use of analytics and engagement statistics, they will determine which type of conservation messaging, media, and interactive content creates the most engagement and what audiences are being the most responsive in order to make the awareness aspects of our programs more effective. The intern should be social media savvy, passionate about conservation, able to write effectively, and can operate a digital camera.


Butterfly Bunker Laboratory

Mentor: Frank Ridgley & Steven Whitfield

The Butterfly Bunker is a repurposed 1940’s era military munitions bunker from the former Richmond Naval Air Base that has been converted to a dedicated hurricane resistant imperiled Lepidoptera research lab that is entirely solar and wind powered. . The internship will assist the lab manager in maintaining the Lepidoptera colonies of the targeted species, collect data on the colonies, propagate and collect host plant material, maintain the host plants immediately surrounding the lab and likely participate in field surveys of adults, larvae and host plants. Surplus from the colonies will be used for targeted releases for public engagement, reintroductions, and possible urban rewildling programs. 


Gopher Tortoise Conservation and Ecology

Zoo Miami's pine rocklands habitat hosts a significant population of gopher tortoises - native threatened tortoises that construct deep burrows that provide a home for the tortoises - as well as hundreds of other species of vertebrates and invertebrates.  The C&R department is conducting a thorough study of gopher tortoises, and is conducting zoo-wide surveys for gopher tortoises burrows, observing tortoise behavior at burrow entrances using motion-sensing video cameras, investigating seed dispersal by tortoises, and conducting radiotelemetry to understand movement patterns and habitat use.  For Fall 2019, we are seeking an intern to join our gopher tortoise team to conduct radiotelemetry and GPS telemetry and follow individual tortoises in the pine rocklands - helping better understand how to protect these important keystone species.